Books

Richard Van Camp: 10 books that have 'marked my soul'

The celebrated Tlicho writer and author of the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardens shares the literary works that have shaped his life.
Moccasin Square Gardens is a short story collection by Richard Van Camp. (Douglas & McIntyre, Laughing Dog Photography)

Celebrated Tlicho writer Richard Van Camp has written over 20 books across multiple genres. His latest work includes the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardenswhich features a witty cast of characters from his hometown Fort Smith, N.W.T. He's also a contributor to the comics anthology This Place.

Below, Van Camp shares 10 books that have shaped his life, or in his words, "taken my throat by their teeth" and "marked my soul forever."

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Dog Stars is a novel by by Peter Heller. (Knopf, John Burcham)

"It's the end of the world thanks to a pandemic and one of the survivors, Hig, has a plane, a dog named Jasper and an uneasy alliance with a sharpshooter, Bangley. It's them against the world and the attacks from other survivors never stop coming. Oh and the world's water supply is drying up. I love it for so many reasons and I hope you'll love it, too."

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Imperial Bedrooms is a novel by Bret Easton Ellis. (Vintage, Casey Nelson)

"I reread this book once a year, usually on a plane, usually on tour and usually with deep regret after as it drags me back into the hell house of our narrator Clay's mind. I love it. I'm terrified of it. Three words: 'The Crossing Place.' Good Lord."

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men is a novel by Cormac McCarthy. (Vintage, Penguin Random House Canada)

"The dialogue, the details, the shoot outs, the grit. I reread that conversation between the hitchhiker and Llewellyn Moss daily. It's perfect."

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson's latest novel, Son of a Trickster, is the first title in a trilogy. (Knopf/Mark Raynes Roberts)

"I feel we will all be held to this level of excellence of writing with the first instalment of Eden Robinson's Trickster Trilogy. The story just lets go and you find yourself leaving your body as you turn the pages. I love it. What a spell Eden puts you under. I can't wait to read the final book when it's ready."

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Indiscretion is a novel by Charles Dubow. (HarperCollins Canada)

"I tell everyone I meet about this novel. It's about a life lived through watching. It's about an affair. It's about fate and destiny and karma and the voice of our narrator, Walter, will hum through my bones forever. Completely devastating. Completely and forever a love story that just destroys me even thinking about it."

Red by Sammy Hagar

Red is a memoir by Sammy Hagar, pictured above at the iHeartRadio ICONS event in May of 2019. (It Books, Rich Polk/Getty Images)

"Sammy Hagar's account of his life from rags to riches will inspire you to pursue your dreams to the fullest. You can hear Sammy's voice long after you've put the book down."

My Life Outside the Ring by Hulk Hogan & Mark Dagostino

My Life Outside the Ring is a memoir by Hulk Hogan. (St. Martin's Griffin, Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

"A page turner of a career, a marriage, a father doing all he can for his son. You think you know Hulk? Maybe. But give this a read when you can. You won't regret it."

Home Ice by Angie Abdou

Author Angie Abdou was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. (ECW Press)

"A no holding back investigation and revelation of what amateur hockey can do to a family and a marriage. I think about this book every day."

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Split Tooth is Polaris Prize-winning artist Tanya Tagaq's first book. (Penguin Random House, Peter Power/Canadian Press)

"I feel that this book unravels the universe every time someone reads it. It's this unending cry from a mother's soul that can destroy the reader from the inside out. I love it because it reminds me that literature is meant to provoke and unsettle and Tanya Tagaq does exactly this."

Moon of Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is a novelist and host of the CBC Radio show Up North. (ECW Press)

"A novel of unrelenting tension. A small northern community. Cell service stops. Then power. Then a community has to make due with all they have, but there's hunger and a dwindling food supply and a stranger with a strange smile who shows to 'help.' Terrifying."